Objective science once conducted by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) was coopted by the Obama Administration to push anti-fossil-fuel energy policies under the guise of CO2 influences on climate change and ocean acidification. Just as they got caught by a whistleblower fudging ocean temperature records in advance of 2015 UN Paris Climate talks, they also actively played politics to garner media alarm attributing CO2 emissions to invalidated claims of impacts upon aquatic ecosystems.
As I previously reported in my February 13 Newsmax column titled “Whistleblower Links NOAA Study to Climate Treaty Agendas,” former NOAA scientist Jim Bates charged that his boss Thomas Karl had “adjusted” sea surface temperature measurements between 1998 and 2012 in order to make recent global temperature changes appear to warm more than twice as much as the original records showed.
Karl then rushed to publish his scientifically unverified report in time “to influence national and international deliberations on climate policy.” The U.K.’s Daily Mail reported, “His [Bates’] vehement objections to the publication of the faulty data were overridden by his NOAA superiors in what he describes as a ‘blatant attempt to intensify the impact’ of what became known as the Pausebuster Paper.”
In July, 2014, the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee subpoenaed NOAA for the suspicious research records. NOAA has subsequently stonewalled demands for Karl’s corroborating research evidence and related internal communications . . . even from Congress.
As Chairman Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) explained, “It was inconvenient for this administration that climate data has clearly showed no warming for the past two decades. The American people have every right to be suspicious when NOAA alters data to get politically correct results they want, and then refuses to reveal how those decisions were made.”
Internal emails obtained through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request by JunkScience.com website publisher and attorney Steven Milloy reveal NOAA media campaigns to politicize unsubstantiated CO2-caused ocean ecosystem impacts along with its “evil twin” climate influences.
A communication from NOAA’s Ocean Acidification Director Libby Jewett lauds a previous “great job” by staff member Madelyn Applebaum in writing “two widely praised and referenced op-eds.” She notes that the first one on space weather was quickly bumped up to Obama White House Science Director John Holdren.
Holdren also immediately approved a second article addressing ocean acidification (OA) which was developed “literally overnight.” “Our Deadened, Carbon-Soaked Seas” appeared in the October 15, 2015, edition of The New York Times.
Jewett wrote that Boyd was “very interested in doing another op-ed on ocean acidification, and our team hopes that Madelyn can be assigned to develop it.” She continued, “Ideally, the op-ed could appear in the fall prior to the second ocean conference at which Secretary Kerry and ocean acidification will be prominent. We want visibility for NOAA’s pioneering global leadership to be prominent too!”
Whereas later emails show that The New York Times initially rejected the proposed op-ed for its U.S. print edition, NOAA staff achieved success getting it placed in the newspaper’s international print edition and its online NYTimes.com. Again attributed to co-authorship by Spinrod and Boyd, it was ominously titled, “In a High CO2 World, Dangerous Waters Ahead.”
Research ecologist Shallin Busch at NOAA’s Fisheries Service insisted that the op-ed exaggerated the ocean acidification problem. Writing to Madelyn Applebaum, Busch said ” . . . the study of the biological impacts of OA is so young that we don’t have any data sets that show a direct effect of OA on population health or trajectory.”
Busch later suggested in another e-mail, “It might be good to mention that some species will be harmed by ocean acidification, some will benefit, and some won’t respond at all!”
A Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution study that I reported in my April 10, 2012, Forbes.com column, “Is Your SUV Killing Ocean Coral Reefs?” agrees with this observation. Their findings concluded that the world’s marine biota are “more resistant to ocean acidification than suggested by pessimistic predictions identifying ocean acidification as a major threat to marine biodiversity.”
Higher seawater carbonation levels and temperatures actually have positive effects upon many marine species. Included are shell-building “calcifers” which are observed to grow faster over natural volcanic CO2 vents.
Most of the significantly negative responses occurred at atmospheric concentrations exceeding 2,000 parts per million (ppm). This is five times higher than the current 400 ppm today, and about three times higher than even the alarmist UN’s IPCC predicts will occur by end of this century.
No one should doubt that the health of ocean ecosystems must be of vital concern. For exactly this same reason we must be able to place trust in a non-political NOAA to get both its facts and messaging straight.